The Delhi high court on Monday restrained the Haryana government from “prosecuting” car-maker Maruti Suzuki for not having prior environment clearance (EC) for its unit in Rohtak after the company gave an undertaking that it will apply for the green nod.
The court held that the company will have to get environment clearance prior to constructing any unit measuring over 20,000 square metre as per the central government’s environment impact assessment (EIA) notification of September 14, 2006.
Justice Manmohan said the 2006 EIA notification is applicable on Maruti, though the company had claimed otherwise.
The court also said the company and its directors would be bound by its undertaking that it will now apply for and obtain the clearances for all three of its units at Rohtak, Gurgaon and Manesar in Haryana.
The court directed Haryana government to consider the company’s applications.
It restrained Haryana from initiating proceedings against the company saying the company had not obtained prior EC as it believed the EIA notification did not apply to it, adding that Maruti “could not be said to have acted with mala fide intent”.
Maruti, in its plea, had contended that the notification is not applicable to it as it is not a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
Maruti also argued that even the Supreme Court has said that the 2006 notification, to the extent that it makes prior EC mandatory for constructions on land measuring 20,000 or more square metre, needs a relook.
As per the 2006 notification, constructions and buildings on areas of over 20,000 square metre require prior environment clearance and this has been made applicable to SEZs.
The state government was of the view that the Maruti facility is similar to an SEZ and since it had constructed research and development facility, testing track, etc., without prior environment clearance, it had violated the environment norms.